The now annual Halloween post

This is a repost from the same time last year...

Owen just scooted out the door for the day dressed as spiderman. His school is having a halloween party......but I am not sure he was supposed to show up ALL day in costume. I also considered the fact that they are serving lasagna for lunch, and the outfit is a one-piecer making "potty time" a nightmare. I thought maybe just taking his costume to put on at party time would be a better idea. However, I could not convince my child of this.Before leaving he asked me a question that has stuck with me ( well maybe because he asked it about a dozen times in a span of 5 minutes).
"Who are you going to be today mommy?"

First I tried responding with something easy......"Owen's mommy". Apparently that was not exciting enough.Then I tried to appeal to the superhero in him with "super woman". Apparently they don't show that cartoon anymore so there is no such thing if you are 3. I started to get desperate and told him I could be "Dora". He considered this a bit longer before declining. He finally agreed with an old classic......."a ghost". He looked around for a sheet.......but settled for a few "boos" before he was out the door for a day filled with future cavities.

I am still in my pjs and don't plan on dressing up as anything.........but it's not a bad question to ask yourself first thing in the morning.....and not just on halloween.
So, who are you going to be today?

punkin patch







Here are a few shots my friend Rhonda got last week at the pumpkin patch...
check out more of her stuff at snapshotsonlocation.com




the piano fairy

last night around 10:40 p.m.
Owen sticks an elbow in my ribs and says,
"is that the piano fairy?"

I had just fallen asleep.
but, I rubbed my eye and looked up to see a strange man in my bedroom.
older, balding, wearing a jumpsuit and a little creepy looking.

"yes, Owen, that is the piano fairy".
He went scrambling out of bed to watch and
this stranger and Shaun rolled a piano into our bedroom.

My old piano.
The one I learned to play chopsticks on.
and some song about a little Indian.
and the one your only use your knuckles to play.
and a few real recital worthy songs as well.
and practiced for hours.
or at least it felt like hours.
The one my brother and sister played.
And the one my mother could play beautifully.

Owen plopped down on the bed while they unloaded it from the dolley.
His eyes were big and wide and he asked, "We're getting a real live piano?"

I giggled and hoped he didn't think this was like getting a puppy.
"Yes, Owen a real live piano"

But it is alive.
Kind of.
It is big and brown and shiny and holds some beautiful potential inside.

I'm sure Shaun will be digging out the old sheet music for moonlight sonata.
and I will remember a few bars of fur elise.
and teach Owen chopsticks.
and even let Tess bang around to her delight.
and we will have our own "real live piano".

Thanks mom and dad.

week four....are you hungry?

a few of my favorite things:
cheese fries from snuffers
homemade cobbler
chips and salsa almost anywhere, but especially uncle julios and chueys
medium wet wings from wings n more
fuzzy's fish tacos
my mom's spaghetti sauce
warm sourdough bread
red wine
greek salad from pappadeaux
sexy roll from piranha
easy cheese and a box of trisquits
garlic mashed potatoes.
a chilli cheese dog from the coney
a good ceaser salad
warm garlicy hummus from mellow mushroom
hashbrown casserole from the cracker barrel
fries from wing stop
fresh baked cinnamon rolls
..........and welll i could go on and on.

I like good food.
I am spoiled like that.
And wear the pant size to prove it.
Both my parents are amazing cooks and they don't mind dropping big bucks for a really good meal.
Like the lobsters we shared last time they were in town!

Did reading all that make you hungry?
Did you start picturing what you were going to have for dinner?
Did your mouth start to salvate and your stomach start to grumble?
Well guess what.
You aren't.

Hungry, that is.
Not really anyways.

The other day I shared coffee with my friend Julie.
We caught up and talked about work and our kids and many other things that I have already forgotten.
But what I do remember is this.
Her sitting in one of those big green overstuffed chairs in the middle of Starbucks.
Telling me about one of her students.
And her chin started to quiver.
And her eyes got big and wet.
And she cried.
Over a beautiful and bright teenage girl who sits in her class everyday,
and worries about boys and drill team and college just like every other girl in the class.
But she also worries if she will get dinner, or if she will just have to wait until she gets to school the next day to eat again. This girl is hungry.
And so are the kids on those commercials.
And the ones with the signs.

And so this week, I won't be having any of those things listed above for dinner.
I did my weekly shopping yesterday...
and thought more aobut what food would go further for less money
(like rice and beans and chilli and hot dogs)
than maybe what I usually buy.
Or spend eating out.
And I spend less than half of the usual weekly shopping bill....
And as for the other half ( what I didn't spend), I hope it finds it way to that sweet girl.
And somethings tells me,
that this week my rice and beans will taste exceptionally good.

week three - free books


(If you haven't been following read the 2 previous posts first)...

Today Owen got his first library card….and was really proud of it. Really proud of it.
He carried it around in his pocket all day. He even fished it out at “children’s time” at church……..interrupting the entire lesson to show off his magical plastic card.

But library cards are pretty powerful, I mean you can just walk in, flash that puppy…and walk out with an armload of books. Which are 100% free if you can remember to return them on time and keep your kids from coloring in them ( both of which I struggle with).

Turns out I have built my own little library. Minus the Dewey decimal system. I have always wanted a house filled with books. And I have it. There are too many books to count, so I won’t even try.
There are at least 9 shelves of books.
Not counting the random piles of coffee tables, kitchen tables and bathroom counters.
Not counting the bookshelves in Owen in Tess’s rooms.
Not counting the borrowed books stacked neatly (or not so neatly) on the bedside table.
Not counting the ones in the car or the bathroom or the ones at school.
At least 3 of those shelves are probably Shaun’s. Leaving 6 shelves of my books.
So the goal is to get it down to 3.

I am happy to load my friends and family down with books that I have read.
I lend them out freely, often telling them to pass them on to someone else when they finish.
I rarely reread a book.
So, I have no problem passing them on.
I want to pass them on.
I want my friends to read my books.
Because I love them. Or because they have changed me. Or because they were just plain good. And I want to share that. I want my friends to love what I love. Learn what I have learned. And be changed or entertained or challenged right along with me.
A book is so much better if you can talk about it with a friend.
I’m not sure why I am so free to give away books and not other things. It isn’t like I ever just hand a friend 20 bucks or my favorite pair of jeans…and say enjoy …and tell me what you think about it afterwards.

So I thought giving away half my books would be easy.
I do it pretty regularly anyways. In addition to giving all my favorite books to my mom and my friends, I have also filled up big boxes to the brim with books that I don’t want anymore. I take them to half price, gasp a little at the ridiculously low price they want to offer me for these prizes, but take it anyways……….and do what any literay loving person would do. Which is buy more books.

But usually when I fill up those boxes, I mostly give away Shaun’s books.
Or the books that I didn’t really like or remember.
Not the good ones.
Not the copy of Catcher in the Rye that I’ve had since the 9th grade.
Or the signed copy of Bird by Bird
Or my favorite CS Lewis (Until we have Faces).
Or the books that make me want to be a better person, like Donald Miller’s latest: A Thousand Miles in a Million Years. I’m still chewing on that one.
Those are the books that I ask for back when I give them to a friend to read.
That I don’t want to part with.
That even though I usually don’t reread them. I take comfort in the fact that I can.
Or because I think they are the books that will impress people when they see them sitting on my coffee table.
So this week, I will give away my books. Half of them. And there are too many to count, so I’ll just go by shelf space. Not my husbands or my kids or even the ones that my mom has passed on to me. But mine.

So currently they are piled into a footlocker size tub waiting until my husband gets back in town so he can lift them into my car. Because I can't make that tub budge.
But eventually I will drive them down to Half Price.
And they will offer me some offensively low amount for all these books. And I'll say ok.
And I will take that little white slip to the counter.
And I might possibly have to close my eyes while I walk there so I want be tempted by all the pretty covers and stories that I want to be a part of.
And I will cash out.
And I will give that money to the first person I see that needs it. Or asks for it. Or has a cardboard sign.

But some of the books.
I will give to you.
And all you have to do is ask.

The rules……
Just pick one.
Leave your name and the book you want in the comment section. ( first one to request it gets it).
If I need to mail it you, please email me your address (shaun.michelle@sbcglobal.net). Be patient on the mailing. I despise actually going to the post office. Shipping is on me, but I’d like it a lot if you gave the $ I spent of shipping away.
So here are the prizes….I tried to pick a wide range.

Let me Tell you a Story by Tony Campolo (life lessons from unexpected places and unlikely people)
Rachael Ray 365: No repeats Yes I still heart Rachel Ray even if she is too smiley
Me Talk Pretty One Day by Dave Sedaris. If you don’t love Dave Sedaris you should.
Crazy Love by Francis Chan. Wasn’t over the moon about this one…..but it is pretty popular right now and it has some great moments.
Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld. Love love this novel. Kind of a female catcher in the rye. Complete with lots of fbombs.
Sex God by Rob Bell, no Velvet Elvis…..but still pretty great. And no it isn’t naughty.
Don’t make me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman (heart and scripture oriented discipline)…..and obviously a book I need to reread if you have ever seen me out and about w/ my two crazy kids.
Small Wonder by Barbara Kingsolver ( or you might know her from the Poisonwood Bible)…this is a collection of essays…kind of scienc-y, earthy and spiritual all at the same time.
Grace Eventually by Anne Lammott. I heart Anne Lammott, but it all goes a bit down hill after Traveling Mercies.
The Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne. And no, I absolutely do not want to give this book away….but I’m pretty sure it is what Shane would do.

half part two ( of six)

So if you are just tuning in, last week I decided to give away HALF of one of my possessions each week. (Read the last post if you want to get filled in).

The popular question this week was, “So what are you giving away this week?”
Which made me panic a little.
I meant my post last week.
But, how often do you mean something and not really ever follow through.
People asking meant, I had to follow through.

So I went back to my closet.
Bottoms.
Jeans, khakis, skirts, pajama bottoms, work out pants, etc…
16 pairs of pajama pants ( I heart pajama pants and would wear these all the time if it were just slightly more socially acceptable).
8 pairs of workout/sweat type pants
18 pairs of jeans
16 pairs of brown/khaki pants
10 pairs of plain black pants
6 other ( plaid, print, etc.)
12 skirts
And I didn’t even look in the hamper.

I filled 4 trashbags completely full with pants to donate!

Going through all the piles gave me plenty of material to write about.
Like for example that I found 16 pairs of jeans but have been wearing the same pair for the last 3 days in a row.
Like how I discovered clothes that I completely forgot I even owned.
Like how the first few pairs are easy. The ones that have holes or stains or aren’t comfortable. And then it isn’t.
How I seriously considered rescuing a pair of black drawstring pants out of the bag before slipping them in the donation bin. No one would know.
How I kept hoping that this would feel so good, be so freeing.
But it is pretty hard.
Sad that a girl with 16 freaking pair of khaki pants had a seriously hard time whittling it down to only 8 pairs of khaki pants.
Instead, I’ll focus on hope.

You see, the sizes in my closet range from an 8 to a 16. (skinny to post baby)
And I am actually somewhere in the middle.
Unlike shirts, pants sizes are pretty specific.
One week of donuts, pie and skipping the gym……and I am up a size.
Meaning, there are plenty of pants in my closet that I can’t wear.
That, well I probably haven’t been able to wear since like junior high.
Some are too big, and some are too small…but I keep them around just in case.
Even sometimes when my heart isn’t…
My closet is full of hope.
My closet thinks that maybe one day I will be more (or less)
of the person that I want to be.
The one who gets up early to run and the one who eats veggies instead of pie.
And I know lots of people with entire sections of their closet that they can’t wear.
Even my really negative super pessimistic friends have clothes that they are one day hoping to fit back into.
When it comes to our jobs, or credit card bills, or marriages they start to lose heart.
But when it comes to their ass, they are hopeful…
That one day it will squeeze back into those jeans.

So today, when choosing which clothes to keep and which ones to donate,
I fully expected to give away all my skinny jeans.
And I did put a few in the bag.
But most of them I hung right back up.
Because when it comes right down to it,
I didn’t want to give away the hope that they represent.
Because if maybe I think that I can be that girl.
The one who fits back into her skinny jeans,
Then maybe I can also hope to be
The one who gets up and reads her bible.
The one who eats dinner with her family at the table most nights.
The one who follows through.
The one who pursues her dreams.
The one who sweeps under the couch.

And most of all the one who doesn’t own 74 pairs of pants.
But the one who has learned to give with a joyful heart.
Which is something I am still very much working on.
That ….and fitting back into those jeans.

An experiment in Half: Part 1 of 6

16Another day, a man stopped Jesus and asked, "Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" 17Jesus said, "Why do you question me about what's good? God is the One who is good. If you want to enter the life of God, just do what he tells you." 18-19The man asked, "What in particular?" Jesus said, "Don't murder, don't commit adultery, don't steal, don't lie, honor your father and mother, and love your neighbor as you do yourself."
Don’t murder. Check.
Don’t commit adultery. Check.
Don’t steal. Check. Well unless you count making personal copies at work, or snagging Shaun’s last pair of clean socks…
Don’t lie. Uhm…..Not bold face ones at least. Telling the telemarketer that I’m not home, surely that doesn’t count.
Honor your father and mother. Much easier now that I don’t live at home.
Love your neighbor as you do yourself. Sure, as long as I can pick which neighbor. The friendly one who bakes bread and lends me eggs. Love love love. The crabby one who gives Owen dirty looks when he squeals with delight a little too loudly, well I’m cordial.

So if that if that is the test you have to “get eternal life”. Surely I pass. Maybe not with a 100%, but I figure I’m a solid B. And Bs are good enough. Right?

But, the story continues…
20The young man said, "I've done all that. What's left?" 21"If you want to give it all
you've got," Jesus replied, "go sell your possessions; give everything to the poor. All your wealth will then be in heaven. Then come follow me." 22That was the last thing the young man expected to hear. And so, crest-fallen, he walked away. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and he couldn't bear to let go. Matthew 19: 16-22

OK, this test I’m not so sure I’d pass. I’d like to think that if Jesus showed up, in the flesh and asked me to give up all my stuff. All my stuff, the junk, the treasures, my favorite stuff, the stuff that I forgot I even have and even they stuff I buy to put the other stuff in……that I’d tell him yes.
But I’m not so sure.
You see I have a lot of stuff. And I’m pretty fond of it. I know that God would surely provide. But I sleep better at night knowing that I ……. well that I actually have a bed to sleep in.

What if Jesus had asked that poor man to only give up half his stuff? I wonder if he still would have walked away. (Yes, I know that Jesus asks us to surrender everything, not half of everything…this is just an experiment…so bare with me).

So, inspired by this blog post wrecked , I decided to count my shoes. And whatever number I ended up with….I’d give away half.
So I did just that.
25 pairs.
And I am not particularly a shoe girl. I wouldn’t know a pair of Jimmy Choos if I tripped over them.
But 25 pairs is kind of sickening.
I could almost wear a different pair of shoes every single day of the month.
So I spread them out on my bedroom floor and started the weeding out process.
At first it was easy. I placed a broken pair of flip flops in the bag, an old pair of tennis shoes. The ones I keep in my car just in case. Another pair of flip flops that are uncomfortable. A brown pair that I swear I have had since college. And so on.
But after about 7 pairs I was stuck.
I liked or needed all the other pairs on the floor.
In the end I ended up giving away 2 pairs of shoes that I loved. Yes. I said loved about shoes.
The same word that I had a hard time saying about my neighbor.
Which is an ugly thing to learn about yourself.
That I can love a pair of cute black boots and a pair of red and gray North Face tennis shoes more than real live breathing neighbors. Even grouchy ones.

In the end, 13 pairs made it into the bag. Even though I had to cheat a little…counting a cob webby pair of rollerblades from the garage.
And this is just the beginning.
For the next six weeks, I am going to pick some possession ( clothes, books, food, whatever)…..and give away half.
And half is really hard.